From Fearing to Fearless
In the allegory Hinds’ Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard, Much-Afraid, the main character, faces many trials. In the beginning, she continually shows much fear through all these circumstances, along with crooked feet and a twisted mouth to hinder her. To add to all this, her relatives, the Fearings, continually harass her and, at one point, kidnap her.
However, she has The Great Shepherd as a savior to rescue her and two handmaidens, Sorrow and Suffering, to help her up to the High Places. Throughout the book, Much-Afraid undergoes a transformation from fearing to submissive to a fearless servant for the Shepherd. First, at the beginning of the book, Much-Afraid starts as a fearing, discouraged person. We see this in when she, mocked by her relatives, runs to the Shepherd. Even after being consoled by Him, she says, “I know…but whenever I meet any of my relatives I seem to lose all my strength and simply cannot resist them, no matter how I strive” (7). She continually fears, even after starting on her journey.
At the start, she receives the seed of love that The Shepherd plants in her heart: a large thorn that fiercely hurts at the beginning of her journey. This, though, begins her conversion to courage. Furthermore, as the story progresses, more and more instances of Much-Afraid trusting The Shepherd appear, and she ever increasingly rises, victorious, over her fear. In one section, she must surmount the Precipice Injury, a large, steep, jagged cliff. At first, her old nature tells her to turn back, but finally, she timidly—but surely—makes her way up the rock face with the help of Sorrow and Suffering.
At the bottom of the cliff, “She did what which only a short time before had seemed utterly impossible. She…built an altar and laid on it her will, her dread, and her shrinking” (114). Even though still stumbling and fearing, she took the initiative and courage to begin the ascent. In another example, The Great Shepherd leads Much-Afraid into the Desert, away from the High Places. At first, she, appalled at the idea, refuses to go, but after a while, she follows Him in faith and courage, overcoming her fear once again. By the end of the book, Much-Afraid puts all her trust in the Shepherd wholeheartedly.
On the way up the mountain, they stop at a small cabin. In the middle of the night, though, a voice tells Much-Afraid to stand at the entrance of the cabin until daybreak, when she will give her sacrifice at the waterfall. Suddenly, all her enemies run past her: Craven Fear, Bitterness and the rest. Barely even stopping except to tell them to run for their lives, they say that the “avalanches” are falling—and it feels as if the whole mountain will come with it! When Sorrow and Suffering suggest running back to the hut, Much-Afraid refuses. “No, we must not turn back. I have received a commandment to go up to the place where the great fall pours over the rock” (187).
This shows her complete faith, obedience, and daring in any situation near the end of the book. In conclusion, Much-Afraid completely changes attitude by the time she arrives in the High Places and, in addition, even received a new name—Grace and Glory! Her love and kindness overflows to the people around her, including her relatives down in the Valley of Humiliation. She longs to return to the valley in an effort to bring her past enemies to the High Places! In all, the change in Grace and Glory’s life reflects how the Christian’s lives must change through the Christian’s walk with Christ. Christians, sanctified through the study of God’s Word, must also preach to the lost just as Grace and Glory decided to do after her amazing transformation from fearing to fearless.